This dish only requires dry ingredients which makes it so backpacker friendly. The ingredients can typically be found in larger grocery stores without having to place online orders. Using dry ingredients also greatly reduces the time spent preparing the meal at home which is another one of our goals. If meals are easier to prepare at home, we hope folks will be less likely to purchase expensive freeze-dried meals online.
The recipe packs a load of calories at 998 calories per serving and would easily satisfy a hungry thru-hiker. The serving could also be split in half to satisfy two weekend backpackers. Due to the high calorie per ounce nature of the recipe, the half size serving will be somewhat small since only one packet of ramen is used. If the hiker isn’t a fan of ramen, precooked and home dehydrated angel hair pasta or mini bowtie pasta also work well. There are also a variety of gluten-free ramen options on the market.
To prepare, you need only 5 oz of water. This further reduces pack weight by carrying less water needed for meal prep. Less water also means less fuel is required to heat the meal which also reduces pack weight because a small canister can be packed.
Like all of our recipes, this is designed to be freezer bag style, which is also a nice convenience because the meals do not require simmering like many of the pasta and rice sides. This reduces fuel required, again lowering pack weight and money spent. Although, the meals can be prepared in a pot if the hiker prefers that option. Our photos show the meal packaged in a vacuum sealed bag but a regular Ziplock bag can be used for storing shorter durations.
To lengthen the shelf life of the meal, we recommend that the parmesan cheese not be added until the meal is consumed. Otherwise the meal needs to be frozen and/or consumed within a month or so after being at room temperature. We also encouraging hikers to consider packing a small container of parmesan cheese with them on trail in place of the pizza box packets to reduce waste. The small container can be reused trip after trip.
The recipe works well either cooked or cold soaked, too. Cold soaking takes approximately 60 minutes.
Aaron and Chris, Backcountry Foodie.